Ten Years of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria: A Look Back and A Look Ahead​

Tuesday, February 22, 2022
10:00 am – 11:30 am EST (Washington, DC time) 

In July 2012, the Syrian government publicly acknowledged for the first time what had long been suspected: that Syria possessed an arsenal of chemical weapons stockpile. A year later, in August 2013, Syrian military forces launched a large-scale Sarin gas attack outside Damascus where Syrian forces had been attempting to expel rebel forces, killing more than 1,000 people. The attack prompted international condemnation and led to international pressure for Syria to abandon its chemical weapons program.

Under pressure, Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and the bulk of its chemical arsenal was removed and neutralized.

Since then, inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) report that Syria has not fully declared all of its chemical weapons elimination and that chemical attacks have occurred.

Our expert panel assessed the progress that has been achieved to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal, what is left to be done, and how to ensure chemical weapons are never used again. 

Opening Remarks: 

  • H.E. Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW


  • Joby Warrick, author and journalist at The Washington Post, and author of the book, Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America’s Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the World. He will discuss the events surrounding the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile;
  • Amb. Ahmet Uzümcü, former Director-General of the OPCW will describe the lessons that can be learned from this period, including from the experience of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, and the Declaration Assessment Team;
  • Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will review ongoing efforts to address ongoing questions and concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons program, and international efforts to reinforce the norm against chemical weapons use.

Please click here to download a PDF of speaker bios.